OLED displays and lighting in Seoul - March 2019

In early March we conducted a 10 day trip to Seoul, to attend the OLED Korea 2019 conference (and visit some local display companies).

Visiting Seoul is a great chance to witness some beautiful OLED installations - LG Display has been deploying its OLED lighting and display solutions across town in businesses and tourist attractions. Retail stores of course were showing the latest smartphones by Samsung and LG - all of which adopt high end flexible AMOLED displays.

The N Seoul Tower in Namsam mountain park, the most iconic Seoul structure, has several nice OLED installations - showcasing LGD's curved OLED TV panels. The most striking ones are the OLED tunnel and the OLED Wave, but the OLED Circle is also very nice. These were installed in December 2015 - and still look excellent, vibrant and with no apparent burn-in issues. In total LGD deployed 248 55" OLED TV panels in N Seoul Tower.

OLED Tunnel at the N Seoul Tower (Seoul, 2019)I was looking forward to see the beautiful OLED installation in Incheon airport - but unfortunately it has been recently taken down.

Seoul is also home to some beautiful OLED lighting installations. I found the one in Baskin Brown Robbins' flagship store the most beautiful - as it has this nice row of panels that change from seemingly square rigid shapes to beautiful curved flexible and freeform panels.

OLED lighting by LG at the Baskin Brown Robbins, SeoulOn closeup inspection, one can see that these panels are exhibiting some serious black spots and defects. This is very unfortunate. The panels were installed in October 2017 (one and a half years ago) and apparently LGD's encapsulation was not good enough. Of course this is a very extreme use case - the lights are on almost all day long. I have an OLED lamp at home (the Acuity Brand Chalina) - which uses LGD's panels too. It was installed in May 2015 - and all the OLED panels still look perfect.

LG OLED lighting at Baskin Brown Robbins, Closeup photo (Seoul 2019)We have also seen OLED lighting installations at the IOPE flagship store in Myeongdong and the National Palace Museum. However in both cases the OLEDs are not really visible or attractive - and unless you come looking for them, they do not leave any impression. The National Palace Museum OLED lighting system was installed in 2017 and is said to provide an excellent lighting for the artifacts on displays - however in the places we have seen them the OLED lights were complemented by other (LED and fluorescent) lighting sources.

We were also happy to see many retail stores adopt e-paper electronic shelf label (ESL) solutions. Check out our E Ink Seoul report here.

Posted: Mar 13,2019 by Ron Mertens